Perri Moreno’s father, Paul, wanted to help her pay for graduate school but financially was unable to. A U.S. Marine veteran, Paul began looking for scholarships to support his daughter and came across The American Legion Legacy Scholarship. Because he’s a post-9/11 veteran with a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher, his daughter was able to apply.
When Perri learned this past May that she was a 2017 recipient of the Legacy Scholarship, she was “shocked and amazed … all this money so I could continue to get my degree,” said Perri, who is earning a Masters of Library and Information Science at the University of Denver in Colorado. “My parents are grateful for the (Legacy) scholarship because they want me to succeed, and it’s thanks to my dad’s service that I was able to get the scholarship so my life is easier in small ways.”
Perri was in eighth grade when her father first deployed to Afghanistan, a time that she said has helped shape who she is today.
“His service has been really valuable. I think it’s immersed us in the military community; there’s a lot of support from everybody and there’s a lot of patriotism involved,” she said. “I notice (more than a non-military child) when people play the national anthem or at sporting events when they announce our servicemembers. I just notice more and I’m grateful that (my father) was willing to do this.”
The American Legion Legacy Scholarship has provided college money for the children of U.S. military personnel killed on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, since the attacks. When the Legion expanded the Legacy Scholarship eligibility and aid, starting with the 2017 application, to include post-9/11 veterans with a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher, it’s now helping children like Perri receive a higher education.
Perri is in her final year of graduate school and said the scholarship is going to cover a large portion of the tuition, which means fewer loans, and allow her to focus on her studies and volunteer work at libraries. It too is allowing her to attend professional development conferences, a requirement in her field of study.
“I want to say thank you (to The American Legion) because although I didn’t have to make that sacrifice (losing a parent), (my father’s service) still affected my life. And it made a difference that The American Legion opened this scholarship up and allowed me a chance to continue my education,” she said.
The Legion Riders are instrumental in raising donations to support the Legacy Scholarship Fund to ensure that children of post-9/11 veterans are reminded that they are still cared for. For that, Perri is grateful.
“All your efforts make getting my education that much easier and that much better,” she said. “To know that all these people care, and are going on the Legacy Run to raise money from among communities that’s … wow. That’s a lot of people who care.”